This year has been a year of upheaval in my life. There has been a tearing away of things that have been imbedded in my thinking, my behavior and have impacted almost every area of my life. In the midst of what felt like absolute chaos and hopelessness – God has been tugging at my heart and allowing me to see some things I couldn’t see before.
I have a garden area in our backyard where I like to grow vegetables every year and it has been calling my name to clean it up. When I first started this garden several years back I had a vision of a meticulously clean and beautiful garden with a pretty fence around it, laced in white rocks around the wood boxes. It would be beautiful to look at from every angle with absolute perfection!
Each year I purpose to get closer to my vision and each year I get to the point where I give up and let it go to weeds because I get tired of the work it takes to maintain it. Quite frankly, I don’t have the discipline or take the time to make it what I want it to be.
Each year my frustration grows and each new spring I purpose to try again. So here I am – another year waiting to clean up the garden, waiting to gain the courage to go pull the weeds again. Truthfully, I am afraid of snakes that could be hiding in the weeds.
I want to give it a fresh start and I want to dream again; that this little space of mine can be as beautiful as I see it in my head!
But when it’s full of weeds and overgrown I feel I can’t see past the what is to see what it can be. All I see is a mess that feels a bit overwhelming to tackle.
I brave the garden and go out to take a look, in the midst of all the weeds, one little jalepeno plant is sticking up fighting to stay alive and on it a few thriving jalepenos reminding me that yes life can live here again.
God speaks to me through my garden every year but I know this year is different because God is uncovering some layers in my life that only He can do.
I have been living a life of toxic thinking in my head and heart, like the weeds, it has overgrown and taken over. The moments when I think about dealing with this – I get overwhelmed for a brief moment, then… I see that one sprig of life shining through, reminding me that life and God’s way of thinking can still live amidst chaos. This simple truth becomes a lifeline to my heart.
You see, when we have toxic thoughts it affects our feelings which then affects our behavior.
For a very long season I allowed this vicious cycle to take over most aspects of my life. I would begin to confess toxic lies which in turn, I started to believe. I have been in a season where I had way too much on my plate and felt completely trapped. I have heard myself saying things like, “I feel like I am going to have a nervous breakdown” – I literally felt my life slipping away before my eyes and in the moment saw no way out.
With each day I faced the reality of feeling trapped and I would begin to confess anxiety, fear and I actually started to believe I would die this way.
BUT God, being greater and His unconditional love as my Heavenly Father, reached down and put His hand on my heart and began to pull out the weeds. The blinders began to come off and I started to see past the weeds. I was able focus on the life I could see in the making and look to what is ahead.
I know what God’s truth says about me and slowly I allowed myself to see it from His perspective – not mine. It was as though the darkness in my mind began to lesson and with each day I pressed into Him a little deeper, His light began to expose the darkness and minimize it’s impact on my vision to see clearly.
Learning to get your thoughts under control is one of the greatest battles to win in order to live a life of freedom. In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 it says, “ We live in this world, but we don’t fight our battles in the same way the world does. The weapons we use are not human ones. Our weapons have power from God and can destroy the enemy’s strong places. We destroy people’s arguments, and we tear down every proud idea that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We also capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.”
God has given us the tools to uproot toxic thinking in our minds. If we don’t use the tools, they’ll be of no use. If I never used one tool in my garden – I would never see it grow or enjoy it’s fruits. We literally have access to Heaven’s plan, His life- giving thinking which is ours for the taking…Yep it’s totally our choice.
I am tired of choosing toxic thinking. As God is continuing to do a work in my life in several areas I see the truth of what He has prepared for me. Is it hard? ABSOLUTELY… I have cried many times, feeling like I don’t want to press through – but the reward of staying steady and working towards the kind of thinking that will transform not only my feelings, but my behavior, is what I am choosing. I choose life!
In Proverbs 4:20-22 it says, “Give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.”
Choose life today and ask God to expose areas of toxic thinking.
SCRIPTURE STUDY ON TOXIC THINKING
- Genesis 1:26
- 1 Corinthians 2:16
- 2 Timothy 1:7
- Hebrews 11:1
- Proverbs 23:7
- Deuteronomy 30:9
- Colossians 3:15